The Close of Probation
(The Story of Redemption - Chapter 59)
I WAS pointed down to the time when the third angel's message was closing. The power of God had rested upon His people; they had accomplished their work and were prepared for the trying hour before them. They had received the latter rain, or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and the living testimony had been revived. The last great warning had sounded everywhere, and it had stirred up and enraged the inhabitants of the earth who would not receive the message.
I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven. An angel with a writer's inkhorn by his side returned from the earth and reported to Jesus that his work was done, and the saints were numbered and sealed. Then I saw Jesus, who had been ministering before the ark containing the Ten Commandments, throw down the censer. He raised His hands, and with a loud voice said. "It is done." And all the angelic host laid off their crowns as Jesus made the solemn declaration, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still." Rev. 22:11.
Every case had been decided for life or death. While Jesus had been ministering in the sanctuary, the judgment had been going on for the righteous dead, and
then for the righteous living. Christ had received His kingdom, having made the atonement for His people and blotted out their sins. The subjects of the kingdom were made up. The marriage of the Lamb was consummated. And the kingdom, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, was given to Jesus and the heirs of salvation, and Jesus was to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.
As Jesus moved out of the most holy place, I heard the tinkling of the bells upon His garment; and as He left, a cloud of darkness covered the inhabitants of the earth. There was then no mediator between guilty man and an offended God. While Jesus had been standing between God and guilty man, a restraint was upon the people; but when He stepped out from between man and the Father, the restraint was removed and Satan had entire control of the finally impenitent.
It was impossible for the plagues to be poured out while Jesus officiated in the sanctuary; but as His work there is finished, and His intercession closes, there is nothing to stay the wrath of God, and it breaks with fury upon the shelterless head of the guilty sinner, who has slighted salvation and hated reproof. In that fearful time, after the close of Jesus' mediation, the saints were living in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. Every case was decided, every jewel numbered. Jesus tarried a moment in the outer apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and the sins which had been confessed while He was in the most holy place were placed upon Satan, the originator of sin, who must suffer their punishment. [NOTE.--THIS SUFFERING OF SATAN IS IN NO SENSE A VICARIOUS ATONEMENT. AS INDICATED IN A PREVIOUS CHAPTER: "AS MAN'S SUBSTITUTE AND SURETY, THE INIQUITY OF MEN WAS LAID UPON CHRIST." (SEE P. 225.) BUT AFTER THOSE WHO ACCEPT CHRIST'S SACRIFICE HAVE BEEN REDEEMED, IT IS CERTAINLY JUST THAT SATAN, THE ORIGINATOR OF SIN, SHOULD SUFFER THE FINAL PUNISHMENT. AS MRS. WHITE HAS SAID ELSEWHERE, "WHEN THE WORK OF ATONEMENT IN THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY HAS BEEN COMPLETED, THEN IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD AND HEAVENLY ANGELS, AND THE HOST OF THE REDEEMED, THE SINS OF GOD'S PEOPLE WILL BE PLACED UPON SATAN; HE WILL BE DECLARED GUILTY OF ALL THE EVIL WHICH HE HAS CAUSED THEM TO COMMIT."--THE GREAT CONTROVERSY, P. 658.--COMPILERS.]
Too Late! Too Late!
Then I saw Jesus lay off His priestly attire and clothe Himself with His most kingly robes. Upon His head were many crowns, a crown within a crown. Surrounded by the angelic host, He left heaven. The plagues were falling upon the inhabitants of the earth. Some were denouncing God and cursing Him. Others rushed to the people of God and begged to be taught how they might escape His judgments. But the saints had nothing for them. The last tear for sinners had been shed, the last agonizing prayer offered, the last burden borne, the last warning given. The sweet voice of mercy was no more to invite them. When the saints, and all heaven, were interested for their salvation, they had not interest for themselves. Life and death had been set before them. Many desired life, but made no effort to obtain it. They did not choose life, and now there was no atoning blood to cleanse the guilty, no compassionate Saviour to plead for them and cry, "Spare, spare the sinner a little longer." All heaven had united with Jesus, as they heard the fearful words, "It is done. It is finished." The plan of salvation had been accomplished, but few had chosen to accept it. And as mercy's sweet voice died away, fear and horror seized the wicked. With terrible distinctness they heard the words, "Too late! too late!"
Those who had not prized God's Word (the Son of God Rev 19:13/Bible and SOP=Spirit of Prophecy) were hurrying to and fro, wandering from sea to sea, and from the north to the east, to seek the Word of the Lord.
Said the angel, "They shall not find it. There is a famine in the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but for hearing the words of the Lord. What would they not give for one word of approval from God! but no, they must hunger and thirst on. Day after day have they slighted salvation, prizing earthly riches and earthly pleasure higher than any heavenly treasure or inducement. They have rejected Jesus and despised His saints. The filthy must remain filthy forever."
Many of the wicked were greatly enraged as they suffered the effects of the plagues. It was a scene of fearful agony. Parents were bitterly reproaching their children, and children their parents, brothers their sisters, and sisters their brothers. Loud, wailing cries were heard in every direction, "It was you who kept me from receiving the truth which would have saved me from this awful hour." The people turned upon their ministers with bitter hate and reproached them, saying, "You have not warned us. You told us that all the world was to be converted, and cried, Peace, peace, to quiet every fear that was aroused. You have not told us of this hour; and those who warned us of it you declared to be fanatics and evil men, who would ruin us." But I saw that the ministers did not escape the wrath of God. Their suffering was tenfold greater than that of their people.
by Ellen White
There is nothing in this that we do not still hold. Reference to our published works will show our belief that the living righteous will receive the seal of God prior to the close of probation; also that these will enjoy special honours in the kingdom of God. 1SM 66
About four months since I had a vision of events all in the future. I saw the time of trouble, such as never was. Jesus told me it was the time of Jacob's trouble, and that we should be delivered out of it by the voice of God. Then I saw the four angels cease to hold the four winds. And I saw famine, pestilence and sword--nation rose against nation, and the whole world was in confusion. Then we cried to God day and night for deliverance, until we began to hear the bells on Jesus' garment. And I saw Jesus rise up in the Holiest, and as he came out we heard the tinkling of the bells and knew that our High Priest was coming out. Then we heard the voice of God which shook the heavens and the earth, and gave the 144,000 the day and hour of Jesus coming. Then the saints were free, united, and full of the glory of God, for he has turned their captivity. And I saw a flaming cloud come where Jesus' stood. Then Jesus laid off his priestly garment and put on his Kingly robe, and took his place on the cloud which carried him to the East, where it first appeared to the saints on earth--a small black cloud which was the sign of the Son of Man. While the cloud was passing from the Holiest to the East, which took a number of days, the synagogue of Satan worshipped at the saint's feet. Portland, April 6, 1846. BROADSIDE1 APR.06,1846
It is in a crisis that character is revealed. When the earnest voice proclaimed at midnight, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him," and the sleeping virgins were roused from their slumbers, it was seen who had made preparation for the event. Both parties were taken unawares; but one was prepared for the emergency, and the other was found without preparation. So now, a sudden and unlooked-for calamity, something that brings the soul face to face with death, will show whether there is any real faith in the promises of God. It will show whether the soul is sustained by grace. The great final test comes at the close of human probation, when it will be too late for the soul's need to be supplied. COL 412
I saw that the four angels would hold the four winds until Jesus' work was done in the sanctuary, and then will come the seven last plagues. These plagues enraged the wicked against the righteous; they thought that we had brought the judgements of God upon them, and that if they could rid the earth of us, the plagues would then be stayed. A decree went forth to slay the saints, which caused them to cry day and night for deliverance. This was the time of Jacob's trouble. Then all the saints cried out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the voice of God. The 144,000 triumphed. Their faces were lighted up with the glory of God. Then I was shown a company who were howling in agony. On their garments was written in large characters, "Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting." I asked who this company were. The angel said, "These are they who have once kept the Sabbath and have given it up." I heard them cry with a loud voice, "We have believed in Thy coming, and taught it with energy." And while they were speaking, their eyes would fall upon their garments and see the writing, and then they would wail aloud. I saw that they had drunk of the deep waters, and fouled the residue with their feet--trodden the Sabbath underfoot-- and that was why they were weighed in the balance and found wanting. EW 36
1. On page 33 is given the following: "I saw that the holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers; and that the Sabbath is the great question to unite the hearts of God's dear, waiting saints. I saw that God had children who do not see and keep the Sabbath. They have not rejected the light upon it. And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully."
This view was given in 1847 when there were but very few of the Advent brethren observing the Sabbath, and of these but few supposed that its observance was of sufficient importance to draw a line between the people of God and unbelievers. Now the fulfilment of that view is beginning to be seen. "The commencement of that time of trouble," here mentioned does not refer to the time when the plagues shall begin to be poured out, but to a short period just before they are poured out, while Christ is in the sanctuary. At that time, while the work of salvation is closing, trouble will be coming on the earth, and the nations will be angry, yet held in check so as not to prevent the work of the third angel. At that time the "latter rain," or refreshing [Three Angel's Messages repeated through republishing retelling the historical SDA doctrines as given by the SDA Pioneers works from 1840-1894] from the presence of the Lord, will come, to give power to the loud voice of the third angel, and prepare the saints to stand in the period when the seven last plagues shall be poured out. EW 85
God's long-suffering has ended. The world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble. . . . The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of affliction and distress described by the prophet as the time of Jacob's trouble. FLB 339
Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests involved therein. The judgement is now passing in the sanctuary above. For many years this work has been in progress. Soon--none know how soon--it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it behoves every soul to heed the Saviour's admonition: "Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." Mark 13:33. "If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." Revelation 3:3. GC11 490
As Satan influenced Esau to march against Jacob, so he will stir up the wicked to destroy God's people in the time of trouble. And as he accused Jacob, he will urge his accusations against the people of God. He numbers the world as his subjects; but the little company who keep the commandments of God are resisting his supremacy. If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph would be complete. He sees that holy angels are guarding them, and he infers that their sins have been pardoned; but he does not know that their cases have been decided in the sanctuary above. He has an accurate knowledge of the sins which he has tempted them to commit, and he presents these before God in the most exaggerated light, representing this people to be just as deserving as himself of exclusion from the favour of God. He declares that the Lord cannot in justice forgive their sins and yet destroy him and his angels. He claims them as his prey and demands that they be given into his hands to destroy. GC11 618
When Christ shall cease His work as mediator in man's behalf, then this time of trouble will begin. Then the case of every soul will have been decided, and there will be no atoning blood to cleanse from sin. When Jesus leaves His position as man's intercessor before God, the solemn announcement is made, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still." Revelation 22:11. Then the restraining Spirit of God is withdrawn from the earth. As Jacob was threatened with death by his angry brother, so the people of God will be in peril from the wicked who are seeking to destroy them. And as the patriarch wrestled all night for deliverance from the hand of Esau, so the righteous will cry to God day and night for deliverance from the enemies that surround them. PP 201
At the commencement of the Holy Sabbath, (Jan. 5,) we engaged in prayer with Bro. Belden's family at Rocky Hill, Ct., and the Holy Ghost fell upon us. I was taken off in Vision to the Most Holy Place, where I saw Jesus still interceding for Israel. On the bottom of his garment was a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate. Then I saw that Jesus would not leave the Most Holy Place, until every case was decided either for salvation or destruction: and that the wrath of God could not come until Jesus had finished his work in the Most Holy Place--laid off his priestly attire and clothed himself with the garments of vengeance. Then Jesus will step out from between the Father and man, and God will keep silent no longer; but pour out his wrath on those who have rejected his truth. I saw that the anger of the nations, the wrath of God, and the time to judge the dead, were separate events, one following the other. I saw that Michael had not stood up, and that the time of trouble, such as never was, had not yet commenced. The nations are now getting angry, but when our High Priest has finished his work in the Sanctuary, he will stand up, put on the garments of vengeance, and then the seven last plagues will be poured out. I saw that the four angels would hold the four winds until Jesus' work was done in the Sanctuary, and then will come the seven last plagues. These plagues enraged the wicked against the righteous, and they thought that we had brought them down upon them, and if they could rid the earth of us, then the plagues would be stayed. A decree went forth to slay the saints, which caused them to cry day and night for deliverance. This was the time of Jacob's trouble. Then all the saints cried out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the Voice of God. Then the 144,000 triumphed. Their faces were lighted up with the glory of God. Then I was shown a company who were howling in agony. On their garments was written in large characters, "thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting." I asked who this company were. The angel said, "these are they who have once kept the Sabbath and have given it up." I heard them cry with a loud voice--"we have believed in thy coming, and taught it with energy." And while they were speaking, their eyes would fall upon their garments and see the writing, and then they would wail aloud. I saw they had drunk of the deep waters, and fouled the residue with their feet--trodden the Sabbath underfoot, and that is why they were weighed in the balance and found wanting. Then my attending angel directed me to the City again, where I saw four angels winging their way to the gate of the City, and were just presenting the golden card to the angel at the gate. Then I saw another angel swiftly flying from the direction of the most excellent glory, and crying with a loud voice to the other angels, and waving something up and down in his hand. I asked my attending angel for an explanation of what I saw. He told me that I could see no more then, but he would shortly show me what those things that I then saw meant. RH AUG.01,1849
It is the duty of the people of God to have their lamps trimmed and burning, to be as men that wait for the Bridegroom, when he shall return from the wedding. You have not a moment to lose in neglect of the great salvation that has been provided for you. The time of the probation of souls is coming to an end. From day to day the destiny of men is being sealed, and even from this congregation we know not how soon many shall close their eyes in death and be habited for the tomb. We should now consider that our life is swiftly passing away, that we are not safe one moment unless our life is hid with Christ in God. Our duty is not to be looking forward to some special time for some special work to be done for us, but to go forward in our work of warning the world; for we are to be witnesses of Christ to the uttermost parts of the world. All around us are the young, the impenitent, the unconverted, and what are we doing for them? Parents, in the ardour of your first love, are you seeking for the conversion of your children, or are you engrossed with the things of this life to such an extent that you are not making earnest efforts to be labourers together with God? Do you have an appreciation of the work and mission of the Holy Spirit? Do you realise that the Holy Spirit is the agency whereby we are to reach the souls of those around us? When this meeting shall close, will you go from here and forget the earnest appeals that have been made to you? will the messages of warning be left unheeded, and the truth you have heard leak out of your heart as water leaks out of a broken vessel? RH MAR.22,1892
The Lord says to the people of the earth, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve." All are now deciding their eternal destiny. Men need to be aroused to realise the solemnity of the time, the nearness of the day when human probation shall be ended. God gives no man a message that it will be five years or ten years or twenty years before this earth's history shall close. He would not give any living being an excuse for delaying the preparation for his appearing. He would have no one say, as did the unfaithful servant, "My Lord delayeth his coming;" for this leads to reckless neglect of the opportunities and privileges given to prepare us for that great day. Everyone who claims to be a servant of God is called to do his service as if each day might be the last. RH NOV.27,1900